Rachel races the Boruman
1 CommentSaturday, 20 June 2015 | Admin
I competed in the Boruman Sprint Triathlon in Killaloe last Saturday. It’s a well-run race less than 20 minutes from my house… so participation is a no-brainer. Pre-race preparation was slightly altered as the race had a separate T1 and T2. That meant that participants had to leave run gear in a car park in Ballina and bike gear in a field in Killaloe. Another (unwanted) pre-race ingredient was a puncture. While I was jogging outside transition, a friend yelled my name and frantically waved to get my attention. Apparently my front tyre had emitted a loud “gushhhh” while everyone was busily preparing their own transition areas. I had checked and re-pumped my tyres before leaving home so I had no tubes, levers or pump with me. Rookie mistake… Fortunately, it was one without repercussions because four men chipped in with different equipment to save the day. Thanks so much guys! Although I had plenty of time to sort the issue, it’s never nice to have equipment trouble right before a race… so I obsessively re-checked the tyre several times during the race briefing.
Now, back to the race itself… It was a scheduled for a three o’clock start and I’m very happy to say that the timing was spot on. Wetsuit-clad arms were flailing in the water exactly as the clock chimed… The swim was 750m straight down a canal. With walls on each side and canoeists a-plenty, there was no doubt that the route was safe and direct. There is also no doubt that it was crowded. When the horn sounded, everyone shot off the start line, as it always the case. Unusually, however, the field never really thinned out. I felt surrounded for most of the swim and even managed to cut my hand on the wall, as the canal narrowed going under several bridges. In terms of performance, I felt strong and steady. Avoiding feet was an impossible task so I comfortably drafted throughout. With that said, I did push hard (high arm turnover) and made a few moves to find new feet, as it’s always a worry that you’re settling into a pace that is actually slower than you can manage. I emerged from the water in a time of 12:24 and set off on the grassy run to T1.
After spending 0:59 removing my wetsuit and securing my helmet, I ran towards the mount line and the 24km bike route beyond. Last year, the route was a 20km, straight out-and-back affair. This year, however, they extended the course in order to take in a loop through O’Brien’s Bridge and Birdhill. I passed quite a few cyclists in the early kilometres but the field thinned out quickly enough. Luckily, I met no oncoming traffic on the bridges either side of O’Brien’s Bridge so I had a completely unimpeded cycle. There was a strong head/cross-wind on the main Limerick Road to Birdhill, which reduced my pace and forced me to expend energy steadying the bike. A few men passed me along this stretch but I kept on pedalling to my own rhythm. I avoided the brightly-painted bumps and holes on the road back into Ballina and was happy to dismount my bike in a time of 40:40 (still in second place).
The run took in a lovely riverside path on the Ballina side, before using a steep stairwell to draw breathless gasps from participants. The atmosphere crossing the bridge was superb… I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many versions of “well done Rachel” or “keep it going Rach” in such a short period of time. Unfortunately, however, the strong, bounding feeling that I had had in Athy did not emerge at any point. Still, I felt steady and consistent. After around 2.4km, I was passed with a speedy “whoosh” and could do nothing to respond. I continued at my own pace, happy to emerge from the empty Clarisford Park and begin the return journey to Killaloe. Again, spectator volume increased dramatically as I approached the finish line. My run split of 20:48 gave me an overall time of 1:14:53.
And now, a brief moment for self-reflection. I was very happy with my performance. I feel like my swimming has been steadily progressing, though I’m unsure if it’s a physical or psychological adjustment… Whatever the reason, I’ll take the improvement! My biking has been consistent but I definitely think there are more seconds to be gained on two wheels. My run is up-and-down: Athy was fantastic, Boruman was decent. I know the speed is in there but I’m not able to draw on it regularly at the moment. Still, I am always confident I can put together a strong combination of the three disciplines, even if one of them isn’t particularly outstanding. I am getting in good training and enjoying myself so there’s little more I can ask for… well, maybe a sunny, wind-less day on June 27th.
Yes, next up is Hell of the West… :)
Oh, I should mention that when I was putting my bike away at home, I spotted a fairly big gash in my front tyre. Apparently that has been the cause of my pre-race puncture. I really was lucky it didn’t re-puncture while I was cycling…